65th Anniversary of Charlotte’s Web

charlottesweb65 years ago, E. B. White’s beloved story of animals growing up on a farm was published. White based the characters on animals from his own farm in Maine and did a bunch of research – at his local library – to learn all he could about the lives of spiders before writing about Charlotte and her infamous web.

Here are some recommended animal-related children’s books to share with your favorite little ones if they enjoy Charlotte’s Web:

The Bad Guys by Aaron Blabey – A group of animal companions who look bad but perform good deeds overcome their inborn natures to work together for the sake of rescuing hundreds of dogs from a maximum-security dog pound.

Freddy the Detective by Walter R. Brooks – Freddy the pig does some detective work in order to solve the mystery of the missing toy train.

Mac and Cheese by Sarah Weeks – Two cats who are as different as night and day are nevertheless best friends, as Cheese proves when a gust of wind plays havoc with Mac’s favorite hat.

The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo – The adventures of Desperaux Tilling, a small mouse of unusual talents, the princess that he loves, the servant girl who longs to be a princess, and a devious rat determined to bring them all to ruin.

Wildwood by Colin Meloy – When her baby brother is kidnapped by crows, seventh-grader Prue McKeel ventures into the forbidden Impassable Wilderness, a dangerous and magical forest at the edge of Portland, Oregon, and soon finds herself involved in a war among the various inhabitants. Continue reading

Short but Sweet: Short Story Collections

wevealreadygonethisfarDon’t let a shortage of time get in the way of reading a good story. Look for the following collections of short stories the next time you’re in need of concise fiction that still packs a punch:

We’ve Already Gone This Far by Patrick Dacey – Presents a collection of short stories about characters in a small Massachusetts town struggling with loss and disappointment in their respective quests for the American Dream.

Always Happy Hour: Stories by Mary Miller – Combining hard-edged prose and savage Southern charm, the author showcases a collection of lusty, lazy, hard-drinking characters in a series of stories.

The Djinn Falls in Love & Other Stories edited by Mahvesh Murad & Jared Shurin – A fascinating collection of new and classic tales of the fearsome Djinn, from bestselling, award-winning and breakthrough international writers.

Fen: Stories by Daisy Johnson – Offers short stories set in The Fens of England, including a story featuring a house that falls in love with a girl and becomes jealous of her friend.

Dis Mem Ber: And Other Stories of Mystery & Suspense by Joyce Carol Oates – A latest collection of stories focuses on the inner lives of vulnerable female protagonists struggling through victimization, provocation or deep emotional unrest to commit violent retaliatory acts.

MatchUp edited by Lee Child – A follow-up to “FaceOff” collects stories written by best-selling thriller authors, 11 women and 11 men partnered in male-female literary pairings, in an anthology that includes contributions by such favorites as Sandra Brown, John Sandford and Eric Van Lustbader. Continue reading

Banned Books Week

What would you be missing if you didn’t have the unrestricted freedom to read? Banned Books Week, which falls on September 24-30 this year, aims to bring attention to the problem of censorship. It began in 1982 when there was a sudden increase in the number of challenged books in schools, bookstores and libraries. Even today, there are many challenges against books. In 2016, there were 323 challenges reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom, however, many cases also go unreported.

Censorship is a slippery slope. Once someone succeeds in having one book banned, for any reason, other people can argue for the banning of more books until we completely lose our freedom of unrestricted access to information.

Below are the top five most challenged books of 2016, all of which can be borrowed from the Greene County Library. Stop by the library sometime this week and celebrate your freedom to read. For more information on Banned Books Week, visit bannedbooksweek.org.

1. This One Summer by Mariko & Jillian Tamaki – Rose’s latest summer at a beach lake house is overshadowed by her parents’ constant arguments, her younger friend’s secret sorrows, and the dangerous activities of older teens.

2. Drama by Raina Telgemeier – Designing sets for her middle school’s play, Callie tries to overcome limited carpentry skills, low ticket sales and squabbling crew members only to find her efforts further complicated by the arrival of two cute brothers.

3. George by Alex Gino – Knowing herself to be a girl despite her outwardly male appearance, George is denied a female role in the class play before teaming up with a friend to reveal her true self. Continue reading